Harry Kewell has opened up on his departure from Leeds United and says he had no option but to leave as he was not offered a new contract.
The Australian was a revelation during his time with Leeds. After coming through the youth system he went on to make 181 league appearances, scoring 45 goals. However he left Elland Road in 2003 in somewhat acrimonious circumstances.
Kewell ended up joining Liverpool ahead of the 2003-4 season. The fee was reported to be £5million. Kewell turned down clubs throughout Europe to head to Anfield.
Speaking to Optus Sport in the “The Big Interview”, Kewell was quizzed about his exit from Leeds. He suggests he had no other choice but to leave. And when he did it was his decision to sign for Liverpool, despite attempts to move him elsewhere.
“There is always going to be speculation but I will say the truth. I had no choice, I didn’t have a contract,” Kewell told Optus Sport. “So I don’t know what people were implying or saying. But if a club doesn’t offer you a contract then what can you do.
“And then when you get managers trying to tell you exactly where you want to go or this is what is going to happen.
“I have given good service to the club. You didn’t pay anything for me. You took a gamble. I have given you some good years, I have enjoyed it. You are not offering me a contract so I will fight for myself. And I had the final say.”
The final say saw him opt for Liverpool. This despite the fact Barcelona, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Manchester United were all keen.
So were Arsenal and Kewell has revealed he was impressed after having breakfast with Arsene Wenger. He was tempted to join the Gunners but had already spoken to another Frenchman Gerard Houllier.
Harry Kewell won over by Houllier
“It was Houllier’s desire to sign me, what he wanted from me the way that he saw his team going and they did have some exciting players,” Kewell added. “I just thought that it was the move that I wanted. And I said 10 years earlier when I was 13 that I wanted to play for Liverpool one day.”
Kewell’s time at Liverpool was blighted through injury. He made 93 league appearances in a five-year spell, scoring 12 goals. He eventually left for Galatasaray in 2008.
Kewell finished his player career back in Australia with Melbourne Heart before moving in to management.